--E.B. White, Charlotte's Web
I had a fabulous conversation today with someone who’s both a true friend and a good writer. We talked about stories and characters and where they come from. I told her about how I got started on my novel, and the spark that inspired me to begin. This small kernel of an idea grew and became more complex and rich and interesting as I was writing.
Basically you don’t have to know what’s going to happen in a story before getting started. You don’t even have to know much about your characters. You can find them and learn all sorts of interesting things about them as you write. It’s such a freeing realization, that you don’t need to know everything about your story before you start, or even more than just the tiniest tidbit. Most of it you can find along the way.
It was so great to talk to her about all of that because I had forgotten how babyish those initial steps were for me four plus years ago when I began writing fiction. It helped so much to remember how slowly I started. I think one of the reasons I’ve been so paralyzed lately is that I’ve been thinking about the whole of book two, instead of taking it step by baby step like I did with book one.
I don’t have to know much about what’s going to happen in this second book. I'll find it as I go.
She can too, and I can't wait to read what she discovers!